What does Thanksgiving mean at the Y?

Thanksgiving is a time to come together, celebrate community, and give thanks. This year, and every year, our Valley of the Sun YMCA community is invited to engage in activities larger than themselves and help families in need.

During another season of giving at the Y, we continue to invite our members to support families who may not be able to afford a full Thanksgiving meal

Offering opportunities to give back to the community fills our members with a sense of pride and fulfillment. Tony, a two-time Leaders in Training participant and YMCA advocate, has claimed his biggest success is giving back to his community by participating in the Thanksgiving Basket Drive.

Tony’s Experience

The Thanksgiving Basket Drive caters to each individual community’s needs. This might mean receiving donations to offer gift cards to families to buy the groceries of their choice, or other communities are collecting all of the traditional Thanksgiving food items to create a full Thanksgiving Day turkey basket.

Some locations have even received sponsorships through local partnerships. Distribution of the Thanksgiving Day items is no different! Some locations are holding pick-up days, while others are hand delivering the baskets to the families.

Fifteen-year-old, Tony, and his mom took the door-to-door route and spent a day driving around South, North, and Metro Phoenix to hand deliver turkeys and all the fixings to feed families in need. At the end of distribution day, there was one turkey left and, without a thought, they gave it to a homeless person who displayed extreme gratitude for their kindness.

Tony expressed how this experience was his greatest success thus far and paramount to the future he sees for himself at the Y. “It just made me realize how grateful I am for life. It made me feel very successful in that time”, says Tony. He has proven his passion for connecting and engaging with his community and is on his way to serving even more. Tony strives to seek out more volunteering opportunities as much as possible and sees a future career at the Y in child development.

This story reminds us that every day, the Y continues to work side-by-side with our neighbors to make sure that everyone, regardless of age, income, or background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive because we are #forall. Listen to Tony’s full Y story on Why The Y podcast.

To learn more about how to get involved in your community, check out our website for volunteering opportunities. If you’d like to donate, check out our donation page to see how your gift will help the community.

Rebecca Varney, Community Relations Coordinator, Valley of the Sun YMCA, striving to tell your #WhyTheY story.